Word of the day – cnatan

cnatan, noun = cold

Tha’n cnatan orm = I have a cold (lit. “Is the cold on me”)
Tha an cnatan a’ tighinn orm = I’m getting a cold (lit. “Is the cold a coming on me”)

Another way to say I have a cold, which I do at moment, which is why I chose this word, is tha fuachd agam (lit. “Is coldness with me”).

The equivalent phrases in the other Celtic languages I know are:

Irish Gaelic: Tá slaghdán orm
Manx Gaelic: Ta feayraght orrym
Welsh: Mae annwyd arna i

All these mean, literally, “Is cold on me”

These phrases illustate some interesting aspects shared by the Celtic languages, such as the verb-first word order, and the way of showing possession. You don’t ‘have’ something in these languages, instead something is on you or with you.

They also give an example of how personal pronouns combine with prepositions. For example, orm (on me) is a combination of air (on) + mi (I/me). If you wanted to say “He has a cold”, it would be “Tha’n cnatan air”, and “We have colds” would be “Tha’n cnatan oirnn”.

This entry was posted in Language, Scottish Gaelic, Words and phrases.

9 Responses to Word of the day – cnatan

  1. TJ says:

    To the previous I would like to add also “ag” in irish gaelic.
    In fact “ar” is used to denote conditions mostly, like when having sickness or even luck (Tá an t-ádh orm) “is the luck on me!”
    Possession as in owning something is mostly done with “ag” like in “tá airgead agam” (I have money). Also, “ag” is somehow equivalent to “-ing” in english to some extent like in “tá mé ag ól” (I am drinkING) and lit. it would be “Is me at drink”
    oh how I love this language 🙂

  2. Delano says:

    Like in English, does “cold” mean “flu” in Scottish Gaelic?

  3. Simon says:

    The Scottish Gaelic for flu is cnatan mòr (big cold).

    Another word for cold in Scottish Gaelic is slaighdean – like slaghdán in Irish Gaelic.

  4. Jimmy says:

    Only really slightly related but talking of Scotland it would be really good if you could find Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Scots to put on the Scots language omniglot page as it would be good to compare the most closely related language to English with other Germanic and Indo-European languages too.

  5. Simon says:

    Jimmy – I agree, but as far as I know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has yet to be translated into Scots.

  6. language hat says:

    Cnatan is pronounced cratan, right? (I know Irish slaghdán is pronounced SLY-dawn, at least in the Connemara dialect I studied.)

  7. Simon says:

    language hat – yes cnatan is indeed pronounced cratan.

  8. Kathryn says:

    I was quite disappointed to see that this is the only thing i found here on scot-gaelic

  9. Simon says:

    Kathryn – there will be more posts about Scottish Gaelic, but there are so many other things I like to write about as well.

    A bheil a’ Ghàidhlig agad?

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